It was Erich Fromm, a noted psychologist, who first brought to the world’s attention that there are two types of freedom. The first one is “freedom from,” the act of escaping. And the other is “freedom to,” the act of gaining freedom to achieve something better. Anyone who has run away from home and found himself asking the question “What now?” will understand the difference.

We couldn’t help but think about Fromm’s two freedoms while visiting the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. It was just days after Barack Obama had been elected president, and the experience was surreal. Here we were, face to face with the reality of man’s inhumanity to man. Outside the Freedom Center, our country was celebrating the election of its first African-American president.

Completing our tour, which was nothing short of a spiritual experience, the thought struck us that the Freedom Center is telling only half the story. In Dr. Fromm’s words, it is telling the “freedom from” story, but not the “freedom to” story. What a great opportunity, we thought, to add another dimension to the center’s mission. Why not make it the home of both freedoms, accommodating a place for African-American achievement?

The Freedom Center is as fine a museum in both content and architecture as there is in the country. It is a great asset. Yet think what it would mean to every African-American if it were a center of accomplishments, not only in historical exhibits but current events.

Without question, slavery is one of America’s darkest hours. Yet the story of the Freedom Trail is the story of the American Dream. The most exciting story in our history is not what our ancestors did to gain their freedom, but what they have done with it since.